135 Years of Leadership
The Great Synagogue congregation is more than 850 families, spread throughout Sydney and a mixture of ages and backgrounds.
There are families which can trace their ancestry back to the founders of The Great Synagogue in the mid-nineteenth century and families which have just arrived in Australia from South Africa, Israel or elsewhere.
The congregation's style of worship is Modern Orthodox utilising the Minhag Anglia - services are in the Ashkenazi tradition based on the tradition of the United Synagogues of Great Britain.
The Great Synagogue congregation and its rabbis have always been in the forefront of the Sydney Jewish community's interaction with the wider community. Major events in Australian and NSW history have always been marked with services at the Great Synagogue and Australian political, medical, arts, legal and other leaders are frequent guests of the synagogue for services and events.
The congregation holds an annual Law Service to mark the beginning of the legal term. Jewish and non-Jewish judges, barristers and other legal professionals attend the service, in the presence of the Chief Justice of NSW.
As the "mother congregation" of Australian Jewry, The Great Synagogue is visited by distinguished individuals including politicians, governors, consuls and ambassadors from other countries, Christian clergy and clergy of other faiths.
In 2011, it hosted Australian Governor General Quentin Bryce AC who was guest speaker at the dinner which followed February's Law Service.